Visiting the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn

Visiting the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn

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Vintage train car at the NYC Transit Museum
Vintage train car at the NYC Transit Museum

I first went to the NYC Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn over the summer. It was a great activity for a warm rainy day. Even though you can easily see the whole museum in one visit, I had no qualms about going back with a friend last weekend.

You can see everything in about three hours. It is a great museum for kids and there will be plenty of them on a weekend. The hands-on activities will keep children occupied while there is still plenty of history text for adults. Admission to the museum is $7/adult and often has free hours throughout the year.

The old Court St station is now the home of the NYC Transit Museum
The old Court St station is now the home of the NYC Transit Museum

The NYC Transit Museum is inside an inactive but still working subway station. The third rail is still live but trains no longer stop at the platform. The entire museum is underground. The entrance to the museum looks like a subway stop. The history & exhibits are all underground. And their collection of vintage trains are on the lower level actually on tracks. With additional information on the subway platform.

Old subway advertisement on a vintage train at the NYC Transit Museum
Old subway advertisement on a vintage train

One of the best parts of the vintage trains, is seeing the vintage ads and maps in each of the subway cars. When the subways were owned privately, there were some interesting line set-ups.

The museum begins by showing you how the tunnels were laid out and dug. Then it moves onto the power system of the subway system. This part has a lot of hands-on activities for kids. If you keep going to the back, there is a whole area about ground transportation in nyc. Including a fantastic timeline showing the change from horse & carriage to trolley to cable car to buses.

As you leave the museum, there is an area showing the change in subway turnstiles which is also very neat. The original ones were wooden. Before turnstiles, an employee would just take your ticket like at the movies.

Vintage train car at the NYC Transit Museum
Vintage train car at the NYC Transit Museum

Downstairs is where the fun is. There are a dozen vintage train cars from various years. You can read about each one. Then actually board the car and walk around.

For three Sundays in the month of December, the MTA runs some of the vintage train cars along the M line. This has been done for promotions as well (like, for Boardwalk Empire). This past December I was able to ride one of the vintage trains.

It was very neat seeing it pull up to the platform. And surprising to some people who weren’t expecting it. There is only one train, a short train at that, that runs up and down the M line. So it makes it each station (from 2nd Ave to Queensboro Plaza) about once an hour.

But when the train isn’t running, it is housed at the NYC Transit Museum. Where you can still walk in the cars, take pictures, sit on the seats, and be glad trains aren’t like that anymore.



More Pictures

Columbus Circle sign at NYC Transit Museum
Columbus Circle Sign
Old Subway Sign at NYC Transit Museum
Old Subway Sign
"Wage War on Germs Cover Your Coughs & Sneezes Please" etiquette vintage ad at NYC Transit Museum
“Wage war on germs”
Old subway advertisement on a vintage train at the NYC Transit Museum
Guiness Advertisement
Vintage Yeungling Ad on old train at NYC Transit Museum
Vintage Yeungling Ad
Subway Manners at NYC Transit Museum
Subway Manners
Old Subway Map at NYC Transit Museum
Old Subway Map
Event Sign NYC Transit Museum
Event Sign
Elevated Subway Sign at NYC Transit Museum
Elevated Subway Sign
More fans on vintage trains at nyc transit museum
More fans on vintage trains
LIRR Sign at NYC transit museum
LIRR Sign
Inside a caboose at NYC Transit Museum
Inside a caboose
The old Court St station is now the home of the NYC Transit Museum
Former court st station
Old Fresh Air Fund ad on vintage train at NYC Transit Museum
Old Fresh Air Fund ad
Vintage ads on the old trains at NYC Transit Museum
Vintage ads on the old trains
misc 066
Old Subway Map
Brilliant use of ceiling fans in the old trains at NYC transit museum
Ceiling fans in the old trains
Sideways Subway Map (pre-mta) at NYC Transit Museum
Pre-MTA Map
"Keep your feet off the Seats" subway etiquette on vintage train at NYC transit museum
Subway mannters
"Stand on your own Feet" subway etiquette sign at NYC Transit Museum
“Stand on your own Feet”
"Seats are for People not Packages" Subway Etiquette Vintage Ad at NYC Transit Museum
Subway Etiquette Vintage Ad
"The Subway Sun" offering subway etiquette tips NYC Transit Museum
“The Subway Sun”
Vintage sign for Independent Subway System (pre-mta) at NYC Transit Museum
Independent Subway System
Vintage poster on a train at NYC Transit Museum
Vintage poster on a train
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10 Replies to “Visiting the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn”

  1. Boo, I’m so freaking mad I never went here when I lived there! When I go back, it will be on my must see list. You should go to the museum of the moving image in Astoria, which is rad.

    1. I definitely have plans to go to MoMI! I’ll hopefully get to check out the video game exhibit they have now before it ends. I also know they play movies all the time. Just gotta get my motivation up to go to Queens.

    1. Absolutely worth a visit! It’s a manageable size instead of overwhelming like the manhattan museums. Also a cheap admission but it is free during the Atlantic Antic in September.

    1. It’s great for kids, plenty of hands-on activities. But also just interesting for adults. I went the first time by myself and the second with a friend – had fun both times!

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